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Help others? Yes, we can

During his visit to Ireland yesterday, Barack Obama paid tribute to the work Ireland does internationally in areas such as peacekeeping, human rights and hunger.

President Obama praised Ireland for the work it does internationally, particularly its overseas aid work. 

Crippling poverty

Obama made comparisons between Ireland’s past and the plight of starving people in developing countries today. He said:

"[Ireland] is a nation that met its responsibilities by choosing to apply the lessons of [its] own past to assume a heavier burden of responsibility on the world stage. And today, a people who once knew the pain of an empty stomach now feed those who hunger abroad. 

Ireland is working hand in hand with the United States to make sure that hungry mouths are fed around the world – because we remember those times. We know what crippling poverty can be like, and we want to make sure we’re helping others."

Punching above our weight

Obama said that Ireland “punches above its weight” in terms of the work it does internationally on issues such as peacekeeping, hunger and human rights. He insisted that it “makes a strong difference around the world.” 

Concern’s director of strategy, advocacy and learning, Connell Foley said:

In recognising the work various Irish bodies do globally, in particular Irish Aid and Irish non-governmental organisations, President Obama has identified the foundation of our great reputation internationally. We cannot underestimate the importance of building on this through continuing to address extreme poverty and governance issues in the poorest countries of the world. 

Is féidir linn

At a time when extreme poverty and hunger are global issues, we may wonder whether we can ever help put an end to crippling poverty, hunger and oppression in the world’s poorest countries. Perhaps Obama gave us the answer yesterday:

If anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big, or your challenges are too great, that we can’t do something, that we shouldn’t even try...just respond with this simple creed: Is féidir linn. Yes, we can.

Food security

Concern is co-hosting an important conference in Washington DC next month. The conference will focus on access to food and the prevention of undernutrition in children under two years of age. It follows up on a commitment made by the Irish and US governments at a meeting at the United Nations in September last year.

>> Read our press release